NHS doctors in specific regions of the UK are taking part in a new service called Warm Home Prescription. It is being tested by Energy Systems Catapult and is designed to help vulnerable low-income people with existing cost-sensitive health conditions. Free recipes are already available for particular groups of people, but this latest scheme looks poised to tackle ongoing energy bills as well.
What is the Warm Home Recipe?
The idea behind this particular initiative is to help people with health conditions affected by cold weather stay warm during the winter.
According to Energy Systems Catapult, offering to pay their energy bills could keep vulnerable people out of hospitals for months to come, which may ease pressure on the NHS.
Since October 2022, households with average usage have seen their gas and electric bills increase by 27 percent, even with the government’s price guarantee in place.
Experts believe this latest free prescription scheme could save both families and the NHS money in the winter months.
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Who is eligible for the Warm Home prescription?
As the scheme is only in its pilot state at the moment, only households living in certain parts of the UK are eligible for it.
Aberdeenshire and the Tees Valley are the two areas of the country taking part in the pilot service this winter 2022/23.
It should be noted that only people directly invited to participate in this initiative will be eligible for a Warm Home Recipe.
Eligible people will receive a letter in the post or will be called by an NHS social prescriber, who will inform them of their eligibility.
DO NOT MISS IT
Households cannot apply to participate in the free prescription scheme through Energy Systems Catapult, the NHS or another health service provider.
The NHS or Energy Systems Catapult will never ask those taking part in this energy bill experiment to share their bank details.
Examples of health conditions that might make someone eligible for a Warm Home prescription include respiratory diseases such as COPD, emphysema, chronic bronchitis or bronchiectasis, cardiovascular disease.
Conditions that affect a person’s immune system could also qualify a patient, such as arthritis, asthma, or people receiving chemotherapy.
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On its website, Energy Systems Catapult explains why this free prescription initiative for energy bills may be necessary to shore up the health service and protect patients.
The organization stated: “At least 10,000 people die each winter in the UK because their home is not warm enough.
“While it is estimated that the healthcare provided as a result of people living in cold homes costs the NHS over £1bn every year in England alone.
“The UK government spends £2.5bn every year trying to reduce energy poverty. Yet only 16 percent of that reaches fuel poor households and even less reaches those who are fuel poor and have significant health conditions.”
Who is eligible for free prescriptions?
This free benefit is now available to help those with the cost of prescription charges with different rules depending on where someone lives in the UK.
Anyone over the age of 60 can receive free prescriptions in England, but residents of Scotland and Wales can receive free prescriptions regardless of their age.
Young people under the age of 16 are also entitled to free prescriptions, while people between the ages of 16 and 18 are entitled to the benefit if they are pursuing higher education.
Households can also purchase a MedEx certificate to cover the cost of prescription drug charges if they have a qualifying health condition, or a MatX if they are pregnant or just had a baby.